Proctor based an early version of "Stalking Panther" on childhood observations in Colorado, studies of panthers in New York's Central Park Zoo, and dissections of cats and cougars. Exhibited at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, the statuette was shown the following year at the Society of American Artists in New York. In 1894, Proctor went to Paris and brought along a plaster cast of "Stalking Panther" in order to continue refining the composition. Using a shaved cat for anatomical reference, he completed the second version and had it cast in bronze. The Metropolitan's statuette is presumed to be from this second version. The work is more than an anatomical assessment of an elongated cat in mid-stride; the piece is a psychologically engaging study of predatory motion toward an unseen prey, reflecting the artist's interest in depicting animals as forces of uncivilized nature.
Signature: [top of base, by right front leg]: A PHIMISTER PROCTOR 1891 1902
Inscription: [top of base, under right hind foot]: COPYRIGHT; [top of base, near left hind foot]: 4. [underlined] (?)
Marking: [foundry mark, front of base, near left hind leg, stamped]: ROMAN BRONZE WORKS N.Y.
The artist until 1920's. Connecticut hunting lodge, until1950s; family associated with the lodge, until 1994; [James Graham and Sons, New York, 1994–96]